It is commonly agreed that you must include story in a presentation to make a connection to your audience. Presenters’ stories must be revealing, provocative and immersive to succeed. This sounds good, but now what?
Susan says, “This presenting stuff can be pretty daunting even without the added burden of transforming your just-average, basically-insecure self into a charismatic, engaging presenter with a brilliant story to tell.
My suggestion is to shift the burden to a photo and let the photo do the heavy lifting in support of your story. The psychological power of a story is that it engages your audience at a primitive level – pre-logic, pre-analytic and pure emotion. The idea is that you just can’t avoid being immersed in a story. Images operate at the same level.
Begin your storytelling preparation by doing a brain dump: a rambling version of your story with fits and starts and oh I forgot to tell you’s, and let me tell you about. If you can, dictate your story using something akin to Dragon Dictate. Just let it flow. Then take a sharp pencil to it, put in it proper order, look for the missing bits and the extraneous and irrelevant bits. Now comes the interesting part. Search through your story for its emotional meaning, its beating heart, its affecting hook. You are not looking for the how of your story or the what, you are looking for its transformative meaning – the why. Every fairy tale has this and so does every Pixar movie. Your story should too.
The next step is to find the image that portrays and supports this meaning. Let it sit on the screen without explanation, with a title, as you tell your story. Watch what happens.
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